On Thursday, the San Francisco Giants seemed to wrap up their off-season agenda, signing power hitting Michael Morse to a one-year, $6 million dollar contract, a deal that presumably found the Giants the left fielder that they had been so desperately been looking for, especially after the poor production of Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres and others during the 2013 season.
Morse seems like the perfect signing for San Francisco for multiple reasons — they did not commit a lot of money and a lot of years to a player that had yet to step in the Giants clubhouse but they did get a player who is coming off injury and wants to prove to the rest of the league that he is a productive ball player. He brings power to the lineup — a player that can hit it out of the park at any given time. Low risk, but very high reward.
With the Morse signing, the Giants seem to have their everyday spots (barring injuries) settled. Buster Posey at catcher, Brandon Belt at first base, Marco Scutaro at second base, Pablo Sandoval at third base, Brandon Crawford at shortstop, Morse in left, Pagan in center and Pence in right.
How will manager Bruce Bochy fill out his opening day lineup? Here is my projection.
1) Angel Pagan, CF
We saw how much of a catalyst Pagan was during the Giants 2012 run to a World Series championship, and how much he was missed with a hamstring injury during the majority of the 2013 season. You can say that his injury wrecked our season. When he came back, you could see how much of an impact he made, and his health for the entire 2014 season is vital.
2) Marco Scutaro, 2B
Scutaro battled a bad back and injured finger for practically the entire season, did not have Pagan to help set the table for him and utilize his strengths, and still hit .297 . It will be fun to see Pagan and Scutaro at full strength and setting the table for the big bats of the lineup
3) Brandon Belt, 1B
While Belt may not fit the image of the prototypical No 3 hitter, true Giants fans who watched their team the last couple months of the season saw how dangerous Belt was with the protection of Posey and adjustment to his batting stance, in which he did not have as tight of a grip on the bat. Dont be surprised if Belt hits .300 with 20 bombs this season.
4) Buster Posey, C
It was clear that Posey was worn down at the end of the season, but with his first full and healthy offseason in his major league careeer (2010 WS, 2011 injury rehab, 2012 WS) , expect the franchise player to come out of the gates strong.
5) Hunter Pence, RF
Pence nonstop hustle, funky forms of playing, team leadership and iron man durability make him a huge part of this Giants team. He heated up with his bat, and was one of the leagues best players in the month of September. Lets hope that we get to hear some speeches during the 2014 postseason.
6) Michael Morse, LF
It will be interesting to see if Morse hits 6th or 7th, but I’d put him 6th. If Pablo Sandoval is behind him in the lineup, pitchers will have to go right after him, as compared to Brandon Crawford. Hitting him in the No 6 hole will get the most out of the newest member of the team.
7) Pablo Sandoval, 3b
I put Sandoval 7th to give Morse some protection, as well as having many opportunities to have more RBI’s. If you find a better No 7 hitter than Sandoval in the major leagues, I’d like to meet him.
8) Brandon Crawford, SS
Just play solid defense and hit .275 and you have done your job.
There are many different ways that you can arrange this order, especially 3 through 7, but this is how I would line it up for the start of the 2014 season.